By Steve Strunsky The Star-Ledger
NEW YORK — The last two sections of the concrete spire atop One World Trade Center will be hoisted onto the roof of the building just after noon on Monday.
When the two sections are installed above the other 16 at a later date, the spire will total 408 feet high, and bring the overall height of the tower to a symbolic 1,776 feet. The roof of the tower is 1,368 feet high, the precise height of the trade center’s original twin towers, which were destroyed on September 11, 2001.
The spire is both decorative and functional, acting as a fixture for various antennae to be used by tenants and others, including a state-of-the art broadcast facility planned for the building.
The Port Authority has asserted that, once completed, 1 WTC will be the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. However, that distinction can only be bestowed officially by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, an international arbiter based in Chicago. Chicago is also the home of the hemisphere’s current tallest building, the 1,451-foot Willis Tower, formerly the Sears Tower.
The council ranks building by height in three categories: “height to architectural top,” the category most commonly associated with “tallest”; highest occupied floor, and height to tip.
Completion of the spire will certainly crown 1 WTC tallest in the hemisphere in the third category. However, if the tip of the spire is not counted by the council as the tower’s architectural top, it will be the hemisphere’s third tallest building in that category behind the Willis Tower and the 1,389-foot Trump Tower, also in Chicago.
Having once dominated the tall world, the U.S. has lagged behind the Middle East and Asia in recent decades. For example, America’s two tallest buildings, the Willis and Trump towers, are ranked ninth and 12th tallest buildings in the world, respectively, by the council.